Ismay was a frail, sick puppy, who didn’t seem to likely to survive. Luckily a new vet – and a new diagnosis – got her on the mend, and this mischievous girl is now a healthy, thriving working dog. She was raised with her sister, Rosebud, which can be a challenge: littermates often bond with each other instead of with their people, becoming a wild little pack of their own. The two were trained separately until they were a year old, and friends were recruited to act as surrogate handlers. This hard work paid off; the two dogs are now beautifully-behaved best friends who work happily with anyone. Ismay loves her job detecting invasive mussels on watercraft – she wails pitifully when it is Rosebud’s turn – but don’t let word get out that this boat-sniffing little lab is actually a terrible swimmer.

Rue was given to WD4C by a concerned donor, who knew that the pup’s high energy and unbelievable drive to work put her at high risk for ending up at a shelter. Rue arrived on Christmas Eve, her crate decorated with green and red ribbons. At 13 weeks old, she was a tornado of speed and enthusiasm. Thirteen months later, work is her play. She would rather search than go to the dog park, and nothing thrills her more than the sight of her working vest. Even at her young age she can ignore distractions and maintain her focus over hours of searching. Rue is going to be a gift that keeps on giving.

With her handler's encouragement, Ismay learns to locate invasive mussels on watercraft.